Contempt is a tricky thing. It’s destructive to the love in a relationship, and yet it can be insidious.
Often, subtle forms of contempt feel perfectly justified—”I’m standing up for myself,” or “I’m just telling it like it is.” But what you may not realize is that you’re standing up for yourself against your partner, putting yourselves in opposition to each other.
So while contempt may seem like the expression of genuine feeling, it’s actually an expression of negative judgment.
Try to practice expressing yourself with feelings and longings that can unite you and your partner, rather than judgments that can divide.
“It scares me when you drive fast!”
“Why can’t you drive more like I do?”
“I felt embarrassed at the party when you left to chat with your friends and I didn’t have anyone to talk to.”
“I would never abandon you like that!”
“The way you’re reacting is really unexpected for me. Can you tell me more about what’s going on?”
“You need help.”
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